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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2016 11:23 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2009 1:26 pm
Posts: 12645
Location: The Davenport's Lab
Title: prepare for trouble, make it double ;)
Name: Shaine
Title: “Chesedh”
Rating: FR13
Genre: drama, episode tag, friendship
Character(s): Tim McGee, Ziva David
Pairing(s): none
Summary: She was offering him a safe place, even for just that brief moment in time, and for that he was thankful. Episode tag to House Rules.
Notes: Written for the Foreign Language Fanfiction challenge at SP. This story is definitely in line with the Shabbat Shalom tags, but not quite. (Does that even make sense?) It’s more of a company fic…?

According to different sources, ‘chesedh’ means loving-kindness and refers to the kind of love that’s loyal and deep. Usually, it’s used when describing the kind of love that God has for humans, but it’s also applicable to the one that humans can have for each other.

Okay, before we start I’ll be very, very honest with you: I’m SUPER rusty with NCIS canon. I’m worse still with anything after the first half-ish of Season 10. House Rules is the only episode outside of that bracket, I think, so things would be, well, different, to say the least. Would it be okay to declare this as AR? :)

Anyways, hope you guys enjoy! (It’s been a while!)

His father’s death was a tempest that suddenly swept through their family, and honestly he didn’t know how he had managed to hold on. The first few days were filled with waves of activity and arrangements that had to be made. He had taken on much of the load when it came to making sure everything was in order because his mother and, as much as she didn’t want to admit it, Sarah were distraught. He didn’t want them to suffer more, so he did the things that needed to be done.

There was also a seemingly endless stream of people that came to offer condolences for them. Their family welcomed that comfort, of course, but admittedly he barely remembered any of the conversation he had exchanged with most of them. He remembered when members of his team stopped by: when Gibbs and Tony came, both showing their support, the former by his presence and the latter by a sincere ‘I’m sorry, McGee’; when Ellie and her husband dropped off a card and offered their sympathy; and when Abby and Ducky visited.

However, besides those instances, everything was a blur.

He was surrounded by dark waters of grief, yet he knew he couldn’t give into it. His mother and little sister needed him to be strong. Not that they weren’t already, but he knew it would help if he kept his emotions at bay whenever he was around them. He pretended to be okay, even if sadness and the memories he had of his father during his last days were ravaging him inside.

It was the most difficult thing he had to do, but he did it wholeheartedly. That was an expression of his love and respect for his father, after all.

Maybe that was how he managed to stay afloat. He was doing the things he did for him.

But after everything had settled, after his father was buried and after he had taken care of everyone the best he could, it really hit him how lost he felt. Silence was his greatest enemy, because when it was quiet and he was all alone, the feelings he thought he could wade through would rise up then swallow him whole. He would begin to blame himself, thinking that if he had just been more persistent and told Gibbs he couldn’t take part in the case, then maybe his father wouldn’t have felt the need to delay his surgery. Or, if he had been a better investigator and got those three hackers to cooperate more quickly, he could’ve gone home to his family earlier than he did.

Then, maybe, his father would still be alive.

Logic reasoned that there had never been a guarantee for that. The cancer was terminal. Death was inevitable. Still, he wanted a few more days, weeks, months, and even some years with him. It wasn’t too much to ask, was it?

Despite his inclination to go back to work immediately to get rid of the anger and doubt, he ended up taking the leave given to him. (Or was he forced to take it? Really, it was one of those things that were also lost in the mix.) He used that time to check up on his family, make sure they were doing fine—whatever ‘fine’ was under the circumstances. Whenever he was unoccupied, he would take that opportunity to get back the sleep that he had lost.

But even with the respite from his busy life, everything still felt unstable. It was as if fierce winds were still carrying him here and there, and…he was absolutely tired. He was sinking in despair, yet he couldn’t find anyone to turn to.

Perhaps that was why he found himself standing by his father’s grave tonight, staring down at the tombstone that shouldn’t be bearing that name this soon. It was a cold evening, with snow falling all around and his breath condensing into faint clouds. Yet, he wasn’t inclined to leave. He was where he needed to be, at least for that hour.


He turned around and saw her walking up to him. A small grin came to his face. “Ziva,” he said. “I didn’t know you were in town. When did you come back?”

She smiled. “Last night.”

“Do Gibbs and Tony know you’re here?” Realizing the error in what he said, he chuckled as he amended with, “What am I talking about. Of course they do. I’m sorry.”

She lightly shook her head. “Don’t be. They do not know I’m here,” she said.

“Oh,” he said, the grin on his lips gradually diminishing into nothing. “Well, what are you doing here?”

“Being a friend, just like you had been when I needed one.”

He looked away. It seemed like it had been a lifetime ago since they spoke, after she, too, lost the only parent she had left. “How did you know where I am?” he asked.

“I was going to pay you a visit at your apartment, but I saw you leaving,” she answered. “I followed you.”

He nodded. He guessed that was telling on his ability to focus. “How are things going for you?” he asked, redirecting the conversation. He smiled. “Did you find what you were looking for?”

She took in a deep breath. She knew he was deflecting, so she didn’t push. She was all too familiar with how much it hurt. “For the most part,” she just answered. “But I am taking it in…stride. Is that how the saying goes?”

He chuckled. “Yes. Taking it in stride.”

She nodded, smiling.

“That’s nice. You’re happy. That’s all I could ask for you,” he said.

Her smile grew out of appreciation. “The e-mails you have sent me…” she began.

“Oh, those things.” He scoffed softly. “Yeah, I guess they were just my way of letting you know that I hope you were okay. I stopped after I realized that you’re probably too busy.”

“I read all of them.”

He looked at her, surprised.

“Some of them I was not able to read immediately because of where I was, but I did make sure to read them all, even more than once. I have kept them with me,” she admitted. Then, with a small smirk, she said, “I, ah, I have kept a notebook with me. I have written all my responses there, even letters of my own to you. But I must warn you: I am no author.”

“You kept a journal?”

“It was the safest way I could communicate with you. At times even the most convenient.”

It took him a moment to register that. He smiled when a thought occurred to him. “Tony might find that new development very amusing,” he joked.

She grinned lightly. “He might.”

“But he won’t,” he finished. Their understanding on that matter, though unspoken, was clear. The letters would become one of those things that only the two of them would share knowledge of.

A moment later, after the bright expression on his face had faded, dragged down by the snowfall and the night around them, she was moved to try again. “How are you holding up?” she asked.

“I’m not,” he said, the truth coming out faster than he could prevent it. He stared at the tombstone, still unable to believe that his father was somewhere underneath it. He swallowed thickly. “I thought I’ve learned to accept it. I thought it would be okay. I said goodbye to him that day already. But now I’m not sure. Nothing’s making sense most of the time.” He exhausted a breath. “I don’t get it. It wasn’t this bad when Kate died.”

“It is because our friends, at the very least, only connect us to the present. Some, to the future, but most, to the present,” she said. “Our parents, McGee, they connect us to our past and our future. When they are gone, a part of us goes with them. That is what I figured, after losing Abba and Ima. It is difficult, because now I have to find my own way in this world.”

Tears pooled in his eyes. His father wanted him to be so much more than what he was. Although they had reached an understanding a long time ago, he wondered if his father was disappointed in him. Did he die worried that his son wouldn’t be as strong as he needed to be to survive, even succeed? When he looked at him one last time, what future did he see in store for him? Did it scare him? Dismay him? “What if I never become what he’d hoped I would be?” he asked.

“You are kind and intelligent. You are strong even in silence, McGee,” she said. “You will not become what he hoped you would be, because you have already far surpassed it.”

He tried to reel in the tears but failed.

She entwined her hand with his. “It is okay not to be okay,” she told him. “Just know that I am here, Tim. You are not alone.”

As his heart completely sank in grief, he found himself tightening his hold on her hand. Each sob that escaped him became like gasps for air. However, unlike the previous times, these allowed him little by little to breathe clearly again. He was not anchored by the need to pretend, and because of that he was free to find the peace he needed.

When she tightened her grasp on his hand, he welcomed it fully. She had never been the kind of person to show affection, but he understood that for him, though it may be uncomfortable, she was willing to make an exception. She wanted to show she cared for him, just like he always cared for her.

She was offering him a safe place, even for just that brief moment in time, and for that he was thankful.

Any constructive crits and reviews are welcome. ;D

Words in this post: 1872

New Story
McGiva friendship. Episode Tag to House Rules.

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